For two days, a new security company hired by Lydian has been keeping local residents and protectors of Amulsar mountain in tension. As is reported by Armenian Environmental Front, first over a hundred security workers broke into the area of the second “post of blockade” early in the morning of July 1 and ran over three puppies that blockaders take care of. Then they continued provoking tension and skirmishes with the blockading protestors and residents by carrying visible assault rifles and stating that are there to make way for the company to restart working.
Despite the presence of local police, the situation remained tense on the second day as well. The protestors demand that the security workers not carry arms, that their number be reduced to 3-4 as is required for taking security shifts, and the other security workers be stationed in hotels and not remain in the territory.
Armenian Environmental Front reported that at the end of the second day, the situation abated and the security company retreated most of its workers to neighboring Vayk town and left only security officers taking the shift.
In the meanwhile, Shirak Buniatyan, a local resident of Jermuk, went live several times from the spot and showed that the representatives of the security company did not wear badges as is required by the law on private security services. The new company’s name is also not clear as more than a couple company names circulated by security officers.
Lydian Armenia clarified on its Facebook page that the company had indeed hired a new security company “as there are valid suspicions of theft of its multi-dollar property” remaining on Amulsar.
Armenian Environmental Front believes the actions of the new security company to be a pre-planned provocation backed by Lydian and its new owners to draw the local protesters into a provoked conflict. “Lydian International has gone bankrupt and has been restructured, now it is owned by its three largest creditors, Orion Resource Partners, Osisko Mining and Resource Capital Fund. They all share responsibility for what is happening at Amulsar. The presence of armed security officers along the road to Jermuk is unacceptable. Reasons of theft are unconvincing, as for the past 2 years since the blockades no property owned by Lydian has been damaged. We suspect that Lydian may have other motivations for the “spectacle.” The struggle for protecting Amulsar has always been peaceful and has been aimed at restoring justice against the disastrous mining project imposed over the local population against their will.”